Why were British troops slaughtered at Isandlwana - Page 13




 
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March 18th, 2014  
BritinAfrica
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by HM2Sgt
Undoubtedly the square would have prolonged the action, but against such a vastly numerically superior foe wouldn't the outcome have eventually been the same? Shades of Fuzzy Wuzzy if you will. I wouldn't expect Lord Chelmsford or his collection of yes men to have responded any differently, & if they had managed to drag themselves back to the battle site I suspect it would have ccomplished little but to add their names to the roll of casualties.
I don't think the outcome would have been the same if a square had been used, the Zulu would not have been able to bring all their forces to bear at the same time. The usual Zulu method of attack was the Buffalo, the loins or chest attack full frontal, while the horns flanked left and right attacking the sides, joining at the rear and finally over running the position from the rear and sides. The Zulu would not have managed to achieve this as I mentioned the Zulu could not have brought all their forces to bear at the same time, they would be tripping over themselves and each other.

The Battle of Rorkes Drift bears this out as Lt Chard had effectively formed a square with his defences. A point to remember, the defenders at Rorkes Drift were out numbered 40 to 1 and carried the day, while the troops massacred at Isandlwana were outnumbered 25 to 1 and didn't.

I would actually like to see some sort of war game carried out by West Point or the British college at Sandhurst to see if it were possible to defeat the Zulu using the square. I think it would be extremely interesting.
March 18th, 2014  
HM2Sgt
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BritinAfrica
I don't think the outcome would have been the same if a square had been used, the Zulu would not have been able to bring all their forces to bear at the same time. The usual Zulu method of attack was the Buffalo, the loins or chest attack full frontal, while the horns flanked left and right attacking the sides, joining at the rear and finally over running the position from the rear and sides. The Zulu would not have managed to achieve this as I mentioned the Zulu could not have brought all their forces to bear at the same time, they would be tripping over themselves and each other.
I defer to your superior knowledge of the terrain & tactics. I had envisioned the Zulu, with their 25:1 advantage, encircling LtCol. Pulleine's squared troops & inflicting attritional losses. With no relief & being effectively immobile they would have been a tough nut to crack, but time was on the Zulu's side. But that would have required a significant change in the Zulu's tactics, yes? I see now that I've been thinking of a siege, & I don't recall any references to Zulu sieges. Could you call the attack on Rorke's Drift a siege? Had the Zulu not discovered the approach & size of Lord Chelmsford's relief column & been forced to retreat they may well have overwhelmed the haggard British survivors.


Quote:
Originally Posted by BritinAfrica
I would actually like to see some sort of war game carried out my West Point or the British college at Sandhurst to see if it were possible to defeat the Zulu using the square. I think it would be extremely interesting.
Now that you mention it, I'm surprized there aren't FPS & RTS video games based on Isandlwana, Rorke's Drift & many other of the Empire's campaigns & actions. There is a rich history unmined by the gaming industry!
March 19th, 2014  
BritinAfrica
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by HM2Sgt
I defer to your superior knowledge of the terrain & tactics. I had envisioned the Zulu, with their 25:1 advantage, encircling LtCol. Pulleine's squared troops & inflicting attritional losses. With no relief & being effectively immobile they would have been a tough nut to crack, but time was on the Zulu's side. But that would have required a significant change in the Zulu's tactics, yes? I see now that I've been thinking of a siege, & I don't recall any references to Zulu sieges. Could you call the attack on Rorke's Drift a siege? Had the Zulu not discovered the approach & size of Lord Chelmsford's relief column & been forced to retreat they may well have overwhelmed the haggard British survivors.
Very good post.

Having visited the battle site and saw the lay of the land, with the ammunition, assets and other supplies on hand I firmly believe that the garrison at Isandlwana would have held out until Lord Chelmsford column had returned, which was if I remember correctly was after dusk. As far as I am aware the Zulu rarely if ever changed their tactic of the Buffalo.

Regarding Rorkes Drift, I think that you are correct in saying that if Chelmsford column had not approached Rorkes Drift when they did, the Zulu could have possibly over run Lt Chard command. At the end of the battle there were only approximately 600 rounds of ammunition left, 6 rounds per man!

An interesting fact, when the Zulu crossed the Buffalo river from Zululand to British Natal, about 400 yards from Rorkes Drift, the wariors sat on the bank of the river smoking Dagga (pot, weed whatever you want to call it), when they attacked the garrison they were stoned out of their minds.

Another historical fact that was totally wrong in the making of the movie Zulu, the Zulu's were shown firing from a ledge firing down on the garrison with Martini Henry rifles, supposedly captured at Isandlwana, the fact is the Zulu regiment attacking Rorkes Drift never took part in the battle of Isandlwana and were armed only with black powder muzzle loaders, which had a nasty habit of blowing up in the faces of the firer.


Quote:
Originally Posted by HM2Sgt
Now that you mention it, I'm surprized there aren't FPS & RTS video games based on Isandlwana, Rorke's Drift & many other of the Empire's campaigns & actions. There is a rich history unmined by the gaming industry!
I do think it would be interesting as I said, if Military colleges re-fought the battle using the square. The square was a tactic that had been used effectively for hundreds of years. It was proven very effective in the numerous wars Britain fought against the French, pikemen in the square defeated French cavalry attacks every time.

When I visited the Isandlwana battle field, I walked through the gates and immediately felt a heaviness, a feeling of disrepair and foreboding. To my right there was a cairn where a soldier was buried, many other cairns littered the battlefield, troops buried where they fell. I climbed to the plateau where Captain Younghusband and his company fought until they too were overwhelmed, a huge cairn stands where they fought and died. Looking out over the Fugitives trail there were dozens of cairns were troops were killed. It was a very interesting place to visit, but I found it rather depressing. I found out a few years later that one of my mothers great great (whatever) uncles was one of those who died at Isandlwana, for generations we thought he had fought at Rorkes Drift and survived.

Rorkes Drift on the other hand never had the depressing feel that Isandlwana had. The site is still a mission with a school for Zulu chilldren, and another building has been put up on the site of the hospital that was burned down during the battle that is mainly used as an information centre and displays, there is a church where the old mission store house stood. Where the barricades were there are stones marking the places where they were built. Another error made in the movie, the redoubt depicted was a massive affair, where in fact (according to the stones laid out) it was less then 6 feet in diameter.
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March 19th, 2014  
MontyB
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by HM2Sgt
Now that you mention it, I'm surprized there aren't FPS & RTS video games based on Isandlwana, Rorke's Drift & many other of the Empire's campaigns & actions. There is a rich history unmined by the gaming industry!
Good grief I can not imagine anything worse than a FPS of the Zulu Wars, stand in a line and fire a shot every few seconds until you get spear through ya.

However there is a MOD for Napoleon:Total war that covers this period...
Quote:
he Khartum and Zulu Mod for Napoleon: Total War is focused on two conflicts. One is the Mahdist War which took place 1881-1899 and was fought between the Mahdist Sudanese and the Egyptian, and later British, forces. The mod is also focused on the Zulu War which was fought between the Zulu Kingdom and Great Britain in the first half of 1879. The latest version of the mod is version 1.0, and there is an optional sub-mod download for it called the Zulu Maps Mod which is in beta version 2. The main mod features four new factions (Natal British Contingent, Corsaire, The Mahdist, and Zulu) and one reworked vanilla faction (Bedouins). Several new units have been added as nearly all the units of the new factions are from the mod. Many new generals and commanders have been created, including Lord Chemlsford (leader of the British contingent during the Battle of Isandlwana), Col. Anthony Durnford (also present at Isandlwana), Cetewayo (King of the Zulus), Lord Kitchener (Mahdist War), Gordon Pacha (Mahdist War), and Muhammad Ahmad (religious leader of the Mahdist War).
The mod also has historical regiments and portrays them accurately. Several specific Zulu War contingents are represented, including: Natal Native Contingent, 2nd Wawickshire, 24th Regiment, 17th Natal Lancers, Bromhead Squadron, and Rorke's Drift Regiment. Not to mention the Isandlwana artillery, the InGobamakhosi Bender of Kings, the Ufasimba, and the Gatling gun. Mahdist War units are also available, like the Mahdist Warriors, the Beja people, the Mahdist Ansar, the Baggara of Darfur, 42nd Foot Infantry, British Colonial Artillery, and the indispensable Maxim gun. All of the units in the mod are stunning and up to par with Napoleon: Total War standards. Gloss, shaders, 3D models, and texture details are exceptional. The uniforms, repeating rifles, and machine guns have been created from scratch and are represented accurately. The sounds are mostly realistic as well. However, I do have one complaint concerning the sound of the machine guns. The gun fire noises for them are at too long of intervals. I believe the firing rate for them was much faster than they are represented in the mod. The muzzle flashes for them are also just as slow, not to mention too bright. Though, these are just little cosmetic details. The mod also contains a soundtrack taken from movies made about the period.
There is also another called The Thin Red Line covering the Anglo Zulu Wars for Total War Kingdoms.




http://thinredlinemod.blogspot.co.nz/p/mod.html
 


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